March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day that celebrates women’s achievements in the past, present and future. Women are no longer staying-at-home but are also academic leaders, senior corporate executives and active politicians. Finding the optimum work-life balance, however, is still a challenge. This makes good health an important consideration for active women to fully utilize the rights that they have successfully claimed thus far.
We all go through a life cycle from the time we are first born until we reach adulthood. Similarly, a woman’s dental condition will change over time. The state of her gums will fluctuate according to hormone levels, particularly from adolescence until menopause. There are four main life stages affecting one’s dental health which ladies should pay more attention to:
1) Puberty: During puberty, sex hormones such as progesterone and estrogen will increase, leading to more sensitivity in the gums. The gums may become swollen and reddish.
2) Menstruation: According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, some women experience oral problems during pre-menstruation, especially in the gum area such as bleeding gums, ulcers, and reddish gums.
3) Pregnancy: There are some dental conditions which all mothers-to-be should note, such as: tooth erosion, dry mouth, excessive saliva and pregnancy gingivitis. Research has also shown a close connection between gum disease and pregnancy complications such as pre-term delivery.
4) Menopause and Post-Menopause: Older women who are in their menopause and post-menopause period may also experience some oral discomfort due to a decreased level of estrogen. Symptoms include dry mouth, burning sensations in the gum tissue, and changes in their taste buds.
Knowing how biological changes affect their oral health, it is best to keep one step ahead in minimizing dental problems when the conditions are still mild.
Some preventive measures include the following:
– All ladies planning to start a family should get their dental health checked.
– In the case of older women, research has shown that bone loss (osteoporosis) plays a part in the increased risk of gum disease. Thus, taking supplements early to increase their bone density may help.
All in all, proper daily home care routine of brushing and flossing combined with professional maintenance every 6 months with your dentist would go a long way to ensuring that your smile is healthy and bright throughout the different stages of life.